John Henry Brown.

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in which he lived, and both there and in Texas he
was active in local politics. He had an acquisitive
mind, was a constant reader, and in those matters
with which he concerned himself he was a sound
thinker. His judgment always commanded re-
spect. He was slow to form conclusions, but he
rarely ever receded from a position when once he
had taken it. He was a man of benevolent dispo-

sition, and his ample means enabled him to give
practical force and meaning to this trait of his
character, nor was he content with merely giving,
but exerted himself personally and assisted others
with his counsel and advice. Knowing that misfor-
tunes would overtake men in spite of the exercise
of good judgment, and, knowing especially, from
experience, the difficulties under which young men
labor in beginning life, he took a pride and pleasure
in aiding such, and in this way created enduring
friendships among his neighbors and those with
whom he was associated. Judge Calvert was for
thirty-five years a ruling elder in the Presbyterian
Church, to the support of which he was a liberal
contributor. He was made a Mason late in life,
but such was the interest he took in the work that
he rose rapidly in the order, becoming a Knight

During the prevalence of the yellow fever epi-
demic in Texas in 1867 Judge Calvert was taken
with the disease and died on the 20th of Septem-
ber of that year. His wife survived him till 1873
(December 16), when she, too, passed away. The
issue of their union was the son, William, already
mentioned, who died in Robertson County in 1864
from disease contracted in the Mexican War, and
three daughters, the eldest of whom, Lucy, was
married to George W. Rutherford and died in
Saline County, Ark., in 1851 ; the second, PauUne
J., was married to J. Tom Garrett, and resides at
Calvert, and the youngest, Mary, was married to
Dr. Peter Smith, and died at Waxahachie, Texas,
in 1889. The descendants of Judge Calvert are
not numerous, but wherever found occupy honorable
positions in society and maintain the high standard
of citizenship set up by him in his own career.



Was born in Rockbridge County, Va., on the 2d
day of March, 1793. In childhood he was left
fatherless and his mother moved to East Tennessee
adjoining the Cherokee Indians, where he grew to
manhood, familiar with that tribe and much attached
to them and they to him.

He fought as an Ensign under Gen. Andrew Jack-
son and was wounded, a wound that never healed,
at the Horse-Shoe, in the Creek War. He afterward

studied law, was admitted to the bar, served as Gen-
eral of Militia and was elected to Congress in 1823
and 1825. After these terms in Congress he was
elected Governor of Tennessee. While in this posi-
tion he married a lady of beauty and accomplish-
ments. From motives and for causes never made
known, he resigned his high position, withdrew from
his wife, and took up his abode with his old friends,
the Cherokees, then living west of Arkansas.



Tbere he remained until December, 1832, and tJien
entered Texas and located at Nacogdoches and San
Augustine. He was without means. In 1833 he
was a member of the Provincial Convention held at
San Felipe. In 1835 he served as a delegate to the
Kevolutionary ^Consultation, which created a pro-
visional Government and made him Commander-in-
Chief of the army it provided for. In March fol-
lowing, he sat in the convention which declared
independence, adopted a constitution, and estab-
lished an independent Republic and by that body
was re-appointed Commander-in-Chief. After receiv-
ing the tidings at Gonzales of the fall of the Alamo,
he retreated slowly to the Colorado, the Brazos,
and finally to San Jacinto, and there, April 21st,
1836, fought and won the decisive battle that scored
Texian Independence. He showed great bravery
and was severely wounded in the engagement.
Leaving the army he repaired to New Orleans for
medical treatment and remained there for some
time. In August, 1836, with slight opposition, he
was elected the first President of the Eepublic of
Texas. By the constitution he was ineligible for
re-election, and was succeeded, at the close of 1838,
by Gen. Lamar, the former Vice-president, for a full
term of three years. In 1839 and 1840 he was
elected to Congress from San Augustine and took a
leading position on all the great questions, and they
were numerous, in that body. His influence was
never greater. In the prime of life, his great
powers of oratory and reason were used with
signal effect. It was then, at the session of
1839-40, that the compiler of this memoir first
saw and heard him in debate, and his youth-
ful mind was struck with surprise and admiration
at his magnificent person and magnetic power.
Neither before nor since has he ever beheld a finer
specimen of physical manhood. Standing about six
feet two inches, with large and perfectly formed
frame, erect as possible for man to be, dressed in
excellent taste, grace in every movement and a voice
as deliberate as melodious, he seemed the embodi.
ment of nature's handiwork in preparing a leader
for the people. Occasional outbursts carried every
auditor with irresistible force. When aroused, in
repelling attack, his shafts of sarcasm and defiance
struck wherever aimed with the precision of a gladia-
tor. His services at this time were greatly appreci-
ated by the people and in 1841 he was returned to
the presidential chair by a large majority. His sec-
ond term covered three eventful and portentous
years in our history, covering three Mexican invas-
ions of the frontier, a continued border warfare,
the temporary removal of the seat of government,
treaties with some of the wild tribes — negotiations

with Great Britain touching the integrity of the
Republic and our relations with Mexico, and the
earlier negotiations with the United States in relation
to the annexation of Texas to that country, besides
many other grave matters of deep import to the
country. That he rose equal to every emergency
and displayed the highest order of executive ability
and statesmanship, is conceded even by those who
then or since differed from him on questions of
policy. He retired from the presidency at the close
of 1844 on the eve of the proposition made in March
following by the United States for our annexation,
which was peacefully and happily consummated in
the succeeding February.

In 1845 Gen. Houston was elected to the conven-
tion which framed our first State constitution, but
he hurried to attend the dying bed of his life-
long friend and patron, Gen. Andrew Jackson, and
did not, in consequence, sit in that one of the ablest
of the many able assemblages which have made
constitutions and laws for Texas.

One of the first acts of the first Legislature which
assembled in February, 1846, was almost unani-
mously to elect Gen. Houston and his friend, Gen.
Thomas J. Rusk, to the United States Senate, where
they both remained, Gen. Rusk until his death in
1857, and Gen. Houston for about twelve years.

Prior to this, on the 9th day of May, 1840, Geu.
Houston wedded Miss Margaret M. Lea, of Ala-
bama, a lady eminently fitted by sound judgment,
the most substantial graces, quiet but sincere affec-
tions, aversion to pomp, and of the strongest domes-
tic attachments, to fill the void which must have
existed in the recesses of his heart in former years.
The union proved most happy until severed by
death and was blessed, as will hereafter be seen, by
the birth of four sons and four daughters. Mrs.
Houston was a consistent Christian woman, and a
member of the Baptist Church. A few years later
her husband joined the same body of Christians,
and both died in its faith.

When Gen. Houston entered the United States
Senate, in March, 1846, he was regarded with
more interest, real as well as romantic, than
any man who ever entered that august body.
Twenty years before he had left the House of Rep-
resentatives with a brilliant reputation. His career
since, in its vicissitudes, alternating between exile
in the wilderness and the highest positions, both
civil and military, was without a parallel in Ameri-
can history and had thrown a halo around his name
which interested and captivated wherever his
stately form was seen. In the Senate he was
warmly greeted by Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Ben-
ton and other eminent men who were in Congress




during his service so long before. The respect
shown him by such men, irrespective of political
divisions, must have been touchingly grateful to
him and was hailed by the people of Texas with
both pride and gratulation. It was a scene worthy
of the master hand of Rafael.

His long service in the Senate, during which
occurred the Mexican War, the sectional strife fol-
lowing the acquisition of California, the compro-
mise measures of 1850, the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise, and the enactment of the Kansas-
Nebraska Bill, of 1854, was characterized by great
moderation and a sincere desire to heal and avoid
sectional irritation as the means of preserving har-
mony in the Union and perpetuating its blessings
to posterit5'. His utterances breathed a lofty spirit
of patriotism and commanded universal respect,
including as well those who differed from him on
any given question. He retired from the Senate
with a name unsullied, and worthy of an American
Senator in our best days.

In 1857, a year or two before the expiration of
Gen. Houston's term in the Senate, his friends
placed him in the field as a candidate for Governor,
against Hardin E. Runnels, the Democratic nom-
inee. The vote stood, for Runnels, 32,552 ; for
Houston, 23,628; Runnels' majority, 8,924 — total
vote, 56,180.

In 1859, Gen. Houston was elected Governor
over Mr. Runnels by about six thousand majority.
To some extent sectional issues influenced the can-
vass, but the question of protection to our frontier
against the wild Indians did more than any one
thing to secure his triumph before the people. It
overshadowed all other issues, with several thou-
sand exposed people, dissatisfied with the existing
state of things, and who yielded him almost their
unanimous suffrage.

The historic canvass of 1860, crowned with the
election of Mr. Lincoln to the presidency, followed.
The history of those days is fresh in the public
mind and need only be referred to in so far as to
state correctly the position of Governor Houston,
about which, in some respects, there is diversity of
opinion and certainly some misconception. That
he was opposed to secession and desired the pres-
ervation of the Union in its original spirit, there
can be no division of opinion. He regarded seces-
sion by separate State action as calculated to inter-
pose insuperable obstacles to final reconciliation
and used his influence to prevent it. He thought a
fraternal consultation through commissioners from
all the Southern States should precede final and
distinct action by either r and trusted that such a
convocation would lead to peaceful measures of

adjustment and preserve the Union intact. As a
last resort, should secession occur, there is reason
to believe that he preferred that Texas should
remain alone, assume her position as an independent
Republic, and await the developments of time and
providence — mayhap it might thus become her
mission to be the means of ultimate reconciliation.
His messages to the Legislature, his public addresses
and other utterances, which were numerous and
elaborate, will furnish the key to his true position
at that momentous period of our history, while
secession was yet an open question. With an im-
mense majority, about three-fourths of the people,
as subsequently shown, manifestly in favor of a
different course — of secession by separate State
action — both the Legislature artd convention being
in session — the bearing of Gen. Houston was
worthy of his great name.

He declined calling a convention of the people,
as had been done in most of the other Southern
States ; but convened the Legislature in extraor-
dinary session. Under recommendations from the
Lieutenant-Governor and other public functiona-
ries, besides a considerable number of representa-
tive men, a convention was chosen and assembled
in Austin on the 27th of January, while the Legis-
lature was in session.

The secessionists in the Legislature and conven-
tion, were resolved that Texas should link her
destiny with her sister Southern States. The ordi-
nance of secession was passed February 1st, the
convention adjourned and the ordinance was sub-
mitted to and adopted by the people by an over-
whelming vote. The convention reassembled on
the 2d of March. Houston advised Texas to resume
her former position as a Republic. The conven-
tion, however, passed an ordinance uniting it with
the Southern Confederacy. All State officers were
required to take the oath to support the new gov-
ernment. This he and his secretary of State, Mr.
Cave, refused to do, were displaced from office and
Lieut.-Gov. Edward Clark inaugurated as Gover-

While Houston published an address to the
people of Texas protesting against this action, he
offered no serious opposition and quietly retired to
private life. Thrall says:. "In Houston's retire-
ment, he was not happy. He looked upon seces-
sion as an accomplished fact: he viewed with
inexpressible grief the war measures adopted by
both contending armies ; he feared that Republican
institutions would be superseded by two centralized
despotisms in which the liberties of the people
would be swept away ; and the prospect saddened
him. His last appearance before a public audience



was in the city of Houston, on the 18th of March,

His address on that occasion was one of the
most touching and splendid orations ever delivered
on American soil.

He died on the 26th of July, 1863, and his
remains are interred at the city of Huntsville. His
life found its close while the clouds of war lowered
over the country.

Ex-President Anson Jones and some others of
less note severely criticised Gen. Houston for not
offering battle to Santa Anna at the Colorado,
checking him there and preventing the laying waste
of the settled part of Texas lying east of that
stream ; and still others have charged that he
deserved no credit for, but was compelled by those
serving under him to fight the battle of San Jacinto ;
but these aspersions have been time and again dis-
proved and one of the strongest evidences of their
falsity is the fact that Gen. Thomas J. Rusk, the
Texian Secretary of War, in his official report of the
battle of San Jacinto, gives Houston full credit for
that engagement, and testifies to the personal hero-
ism that he displayed on the field, and the further
fact that at no other time during the campaign and
at no other spot and under no other circumstances
could such a decisive and crushing defeat have been
infiicted upon the enemy. That single battle won
for Texas her independence. No engagements with
Santa Anna troops on the Colorado could have done
so. If other testimony were needed, it would be
only necessary to call attention to the fact that the
verdict of his countrymen and of the world during
his lifetime recognized that he had justly won the
laurels that clustered upon hia brow. Furthermore,
there is not an old Texian living to-day who would
not hasten to speak up in his defense should an
effort be made to blacken his memory.

Dueling was in vogue in Gen. Houston's day.
The only rencontre of the kind to which he was a
party, took place while he was a member of Con-
gress from Tennessee. One of his constituents
complained that he had not received garden seed
which Houston said he had sent him from Washing-
ton. Gen. Houston stated his belief that the fail-
ure was due to the local postmaster, and criticised
that individual severely. The result was a chal-
lenge which Gen. Houston declined, under the code,
declaring that the postmaster was not his equal.
The bearer of the challenge sneeringly remarked
that he believed that Houston would not fight any-
toody, or under any circumstances, to which Hous-

ton replied, " Suppose you try me." The gentle-
man at once challenged Houston, the challenge was
promptly accepted, and at the meeting Houston
severely wounded his antagonist at the first fire. In
Texas, Gen. Houston was challenged a number of
times, but in each instance declined the field and
that very properly. At the Horse Shoe, at San
Jacinto and on the so-called field of honor itself,
and in a thousand ways he had abundantly proven
his intrepidity. His bold and aggressive course in
public life necessarily made for him hundreds of
enemies and, had he accepted one of these chal-
lenges, scores of others would have been presented
to him, as his enemies would have been delighted
at an opportunity to sacrifice his valuable life. He
was too great a man and his services were too
greatly needed by the country for him to have been
made a victim of a desperado's bullet under the
barbarous code duello.

He was for a time the leader of the Know-
Nothing party in^ Texas, and this, to some extent,
alienated a large number of his friends ; but no
man doubted his purity of purpose or devotion to
what he considered the best interests of his country.
It is a fact not generally known that — before the
Democratic convention of 1860 split — and put two
tickets in the field, he came very near receiving the
nomination of the united Democracy for the office
of President of the United States. Had he received
the nomination and the entire Democratic vote of
the country been cast for one set of candidates,
Mr. Lincoln would have been defeated, the war
between the States at least been postponed, and, pos-
sibly, some compromise been effected that would
have harmonized the differences existing between
the Northern and Southern States. The ambition
of his life was to be the President of two republics,
and at one time it looked as if that ambition was to
be gratified. His biographers, on the one hand, have
committed the error of representing him as a man
entirely without faults, and on the other of dealing
almost solely in detraction. The truth is, that all
men, both small and great — the greatest that have
trod the world's stage of action not excepted —
have had their defects ; but, in such instances as
his, these infirmities have but served to bring out
in stronger relief their nobility of mind and charac-
ter, and to intensify the brilliancy of their achieve-
ments. He was truly a great man and Texas owes
him a debt of undying gratitude that posterity, like
the Texians of this generation, will never cease to





Wilson Irwia Riddle, a pioneer Texian of San
Antonio, now deceased, was born near Dublin, Ire-
land, in 1811, and at the age of eight years was
brought to America by his parents, who settled
in Howard County, Penn., where his boyhood
and youth were chiefly spent. At about the age of
twenty he went to Nashville, Tenn., where he
became a clerk in the mercantile house of Robinson,
■Gibson & Co. From that city he went to Pulaski,
Tenn., where he was in business for himself for
about five years. From that place he went to New
Orleans and there, in 1839, joined Fisher & Miller's
colony and moved to Texas, coming direct to San
Antonio, where he took up his residence and at
once embarked in merchandising. Mr. Riddle was
successfully engaged in business at this place until
the capture of San Antonio in the spring of 1842
by Vaaquez. In the meantime he paid two visits to
Tennessee, one in 1840 and another in 1841. On
the occasion of his last visit he married (April 26,
1841) Miss Elizabeth Menefee, of Pulaski, Tenn.,
and immediately brought his bride out to
Texas. This lady, now Mrs. Canterberry, is still
living in San Antonio, and is one of the oldest
American residents of the place — a lady of intelli-
gence, with a memory richly stored with reminis-
cences of early days in Texas. She is a native
•of Culpepper County, Va. , and a daughter of
John and Elizabeth Menefee, also of Virginia
birth, who, about the close of the first quarter of
this century, moved to Middle Tennessee, where
their daughter was reared, her education, which
was ample, being obtained in Nashville.

Mrs. Canterberry gave the writer an interesting
account of her bridal trip to Texas. The journey
was made by the river route from Nashville to New
Orleans, thence by the gulf to Houston, and thence
to San Antonio by private conveyance, her husband
having arranged for his servants to meet them at
that point with a carriage and baggage-wagon and
necessary camping outfit. The time consumed in
jnaking the journey from her old home in Tennes-
see to her new home in Texas was one month, lack-
ing two days.

On the occasion of the Mexican raid under Vas-
quez, in the spring of 1842, Mr. Riddle was among
the last Americans to leave the city. There had
been so many rumors of invasions that he had come
to distrust such reports, and it was not until he was

shown a letter from Mexico by one of the local
priests, Padre Calvo, that he finally became con-
vinced. As£oon as he was satisfied that the Mexi-
cans were coming, he rolled what powder he had on
hand — . six kegs — into the river so as to prevent its
falling into the hands of the enemy, and, abandon-
ing the rest of his goods and household effects,
took his family to Gonzales for safety.

Mr. and Mrs. Riddle's only child, now Mrs.
Sarah E. Eagar, was then an infant ten days old.
All of Mr. Riddle's property fell into the hands of
the raiders, and all of it, except a piano, which had
been hastily boxed up, was either appropriated to
their use or destroyed.

In the fall of 1842 he returned to San Antonio to
attend court, and was taken prisoner when the city
was captured by Adrian Woll. The District Court
was in session, and the judge and lawyers in at-
tendance were captured. He was chained to one
of the attorneys, William E. Jones, and taken to
Mexico, where he was imprisoned at Perote for
eleven months, at the end of which time he was re-
leased and returned to San Antonio. His wife had
in the meantime (October, 1842) returned to the
city and was occupying their property on Com-
merce street, and looking after her husband's inter-
ests as best she could in the then unsettled condi-
tion of affairs. She was residing in San Antonio
when the Somervell expedition was organized at
that place, and knew Gen. Somervell well, he being
a warm personal friend of her brother. Judge
George Menefee, of Indianola, Texas. In passing,
it may be mentioned that she met, at one time or
another, a majority of the men who figured in the
history of those times, many of them having been
guests at her home.

After Mr. Riddle's release from Perote and re-
turn to San Antonio he settled on a ranch eighteen
miles distant from the city, where, a few years later,
September 12, 1847, he died, his death resulting
from the exposure and hardships endured by him
during his imprisonment in Mexico. His widow
subsequently married Mr. Harvey Canterberry,
from Greenup County, Ky., whom she now
survives. His death occurred December 21,

By her marriage with Mr. Riddle Mrs. Canter-
berry had two children — Sarah Elizabeth, now
Mrs. Eagar, of San Antonio, and James Wilson



Elddle, recently deceased, who was for many years
a I'esident of Eagle Pass, Texas.

By her second marriage Mrs. Canterberry has
two children — John Warner Canterberry, of Mon-
terey, Mexico, and Mrs. Mildred Lee Watkins, of
Eagle Pass, Texas. She has a number of grand-
children and four great-grandchildren. Her eld-
est born, Sarah Elizabeth, was married to Robert
Eagar in 1866. Mr. Eagar was ■born in Nova

Scotia, and came to Texas in 1850, at which date
he settled in San Antonio. He was for a number
of years a merchant in that city, and died there
February 1, 1883.

To Mr. and Mrs. Eagar three children were
born — Florence (single), Blanche, who was mar-
ried to F. J. Badger, December 17, 1890, and
Fannie, who was married to E. J. McCulloch, Jan-
uary 16, 1890.



S. M. Johnson, a well-known citizen and lawyer
of Southwest Texas, and ex-Postmaster of San

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 113 of 135)